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House Committee Advances Trade and Customs Legislation

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Legislation to expedite congressional consideration of free trade agreements, renew trade preference programs and reform customs processes continues to make its way through Congress, passing the House Ways and Means Committee on April 23.

Ways and Means approved a trade promotion authority bill after adding two provisions that bring it more in line with the version approved by Senate Finance. One would elevate the strengthening of good governance, transparency and the rule of law to a principal objective in future trade agreement negotiations. The other would make it a principal negotiating objective in the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations with the European Union to discourage boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel. Other proposed amendments on currency manipulation, human trafficking, investment and other issues, as well as an entire substitute bill offered by Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., were rejected.

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., will hold a webinar on TPA May 5 – click here for more information or to register.

A customs reauthorization bill was also approved after the addition of a provision that aims to ensure that post-liquidation interest received from payments collected under a customs bond is available, where eligible, for distribution to domestic producers in accordance with Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, thus prohibiting such funds from being transferred to the general treasury.

The committee also approved without amendment a retroactive renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences as well as an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and trade preferences for Haiti.

The full House and Senate could now take up the trade and customs bills in early May, and additional attempts to amend them are expected. Differences in the House and Senate versions of the TPA and customs reauthorization bills will have to be resolved to move them forward, either through amendments on the floor or via a conference.

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